Arlington, Virginia — The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) joined other organizations in a letter to Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and filing member Roger Wicker (R-MS) asking the committee to include the DRIVE-Safe Act in the surface transport reauthorization legislation currently under consideration.

The DRIVE-Safe Act (S.659) is bipartisan legislation that would address the driver shortage faced by many industries, including waste and recycling. The NWRA supported the DRIVE-Safe Act when it was introduced in 2019. In the 116and Congress, the legislation received the support of more than a third of members of the House and Senate

“The waste and recycling industry has experienced a growing labor shortage over the past few years, especially when it comes to hiring people with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) “said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “The NWRA supports increased federal support to address this issue.”

Although 49 states and the District of Columbia currently allow people under the age of 21 to obtain a CDL and engage in intrastate commerce, those same people are not allowed to drive a truck across state lines. state until the age of 21. In many cases, these drivers are traveling greater distances within a state than they would be between states if they were working near their state’s borders.

The DRIVE-Safe Act would change that with a rigorous two-stage apprenticeship program that paves the way for these drivers to enter the industry. To qualify, candidates must complete at least 400 hours of additional training, which is more than is required for any other CDL holder in the country.

All qualified drivers who participate in the apprenticeship program established by the bill would only be allowed to drive trucks equipped with the latest safety technologies, including active braking collision mitigation systems, recording cameras forward-facing events, speed limiters set at 65 miles per hour or less and automatic or automatic manual transmissions. Professional drivers trained under the program must also be accompanied by an experienced driver throughout the process.

Driving for the waste and recycling industry offers many benefits such as increased wages, a five-day work week, daily work schedules and the ability to come home at the end of each shift. work unlike long-haul drivers. Despite all this, companies in the industry are increasingly struggling to find enough CDL drivers.

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